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Americans Gather for Annual Thanksgiving Celebration

People across the United States are celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday, a time for family and friends to gather for traditional turkey dinners, give thanks for their blessings and remember those less fortunate.

On the fourth Thursday in November, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, a feast that started in 1621, when European settlers ate with native American Indians, who had helped them survive a harsh winter. Thanksgiving is now celebrated with parades, family gatherings and charity dinners for the homeless and the needy.

In New York City, Macy's Department Store held its annual holiday parade, featuring musicians, including a jazz band from New Orleans, the Louisiana city flooded by Hurricane Katrina.

Seven-year-old Adriana Brown of [the northeastern state of] Massachusetts, was touring the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington with her family. When asked what Thanksgiving means to her, she said, when she thinks about how New Orleans residents are still rebuilding, she is very thankful.

"I think we're lucky, because most people that got flooded in New Orleans didn't get to have as much fun and care, as we do here," she said. "We're lucky that we get to make our own food, but they have to be sent food, and they don't get to choose what they get, they just get what they get."

President Bush, who was celebrating Thanksgiving at his Texas ranch, said he is thinking of American military personnel serving abroad, as well as their families. He said Americans are thankful for their sacrifices.

Tom Bowers of Alabama agrees.

"I've got a friend over there, Ryan Jones, who's near Tikrit, Iraq," he said. "If he hears this, that would be great. He's from Guntersville, Alabama. I thank you Ryan for being over there for me. Get home safe, I know you only have a couple months to be over there, and it'll be a big Thanksgiving when you get home."

U.S. soldiers in Iraq were served traditional Thanksgiving dinners, but for many of them there was no relief from violence on this, America's most cherished holiday.